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Cigar for the Course

Smoking and Golfing Make for a Winning Combination
Michael Konik
From the Print Edition:
Denzel Washington, Jan/Feb 98

(continued from page 2)

Grayhawk Golf Club, home course of Peter Kostis, Gary McCord and Phil Mickelson, sells nearly 5,000 cigars a year out of its pro shop, snack bars, restaurants and even beverage carts. According to Joe Arnold, director of operations for Grayhawk's restaurants, "The management here, from top to bottom, enjoys cigars. So having them available was never a question. Besides, our guests expect them--as evidenced by how many we sell."

Grayhawk, a 36-hole daily-fee complex with two world-class courses, one designed by Tom Fazio and the other by the team of David Graham and Gary Panks, has been selling cigars since it opened three years ago. From day one, demand has been strong. "Anyone who can spend 150 and up for a day of golf can afford a $15 cigar," Arnold says. "If it's a good product, a quality product, they'll happily pay. Having a good cigar out on our golf course adds the perfect touch to a memorable day of golf." The club offers three makes of Española (Presidente, Excellente, Sassoun), three Dunhill models and a Macanudo Vintage 1993, which is priced at $28.

"I'm happy to say demand seems to only be going up," Arnold reports. "Which makes sense. Having a cigar is a totally relaxing complement to a game that tends to make some people slightly aggravated."

During the first week of January, Grayhawk will host the third edition of the richest golf tournament in the world, the $1-million-first-prize Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf. The match play event, televised on ABC, features the winners of four regional qualifiers, including U.S. representative Love.

Not long from now, as the sun sets on a late Sunday afternoon in the Sonoran desert, one man will walk up Grayhawk's immaculate fairways, knowing a putt awaits him that, should he hole it, could earn him $1 million. Chances are, when that last putt drops, whether it is stroked by a cigar aficionado like Love, or one of his opponents --Ernie Els, Colin Montgomerie or Hajime Meshiai--a cigar will be lit in celebration.

Just as thousands of hackers at golf courses around America do every weekend of the year. *

Contributing Editor Michael Konik writes Cigar Aficionado's gambling column, and is the golf columnist for Delta Air Lines SKY.

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